April in Germany means, among other things, Easter break! My school had Easter break from April 6th to April 23th, which is more than double the length of my American spring break.
My host family had planned a trip to Tokyo in the fall, before they knew I would be coming to live with them. Since everything was already booked by the time I arrived in January, it wasn’t possible for me to fly with them. The original plan was for me to stay with my local coordinator, but I got lucky! A friend of my aunt’s living in Brussels offered for me to stay with her while my host family was gone. And let me just say: Brussels is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. There is so much to do, explore, and see. I was there for two weeks, so picking a favorite thing is difficult, but if you ever go, make sure to check out the European Parliament. It’s so great to learn about how such a strong governing body operates!
Not only did I get to see Brussels, but I got the chance to take 2 day trips; once to Paris, once to Amsterdam! The trip to Paris was a spontaneous decision, but the train between Brussels and Paris only take 90 minutes. There is so much to see in Paris that it’s difficult to even make a dent in what there is to do there, but I tried my best! I saw the Eiffel Tower, the Arc du Triumphe, the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and of course, ate some great French food!
Amsterdam is a city that I’ve wanted to visit for years. The friend that I stayed with booked tickets weeks in advance for us to see the Van Gogh museum. If you get there and try to buy a ticket at the door, it’s nearly impossible to get in. The museum was wonderful. I learned so much about Van Gogh’s life and saw so many paintings from him that I didn’t even know existed. I also got the chance to look at the University of Amsterdam, a school I’ve been considering for years because of their strong programs for Linguistics and Communications. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find myself back in that wonderful city of canals and tulips again in a few years.
There was a lot that came unexpected in this new host family. Traveling so much wasn’t something I had planned on, but that’s part of exchange- going with the flow and enjoying what comes your way.